Directed by Keith Hennessy
Thursday – Sunday, June 6-9 & June 20-July 7; 8:30pm
Theater Artaud, 450 Florida St. @ 17th St., San Francisco


A group of migrants and exiles gather for a funeral. Embodying remnants of various cultures, lost and found, they attempt to honor the ancestors. Humans, briefly playing gods by extending physical and social limits, invoke strength and flight, flexibility and balance, whimsy and tragedy. Welcome to the circus.

Circo Zero is a fusion of popular and experimental, contemporary and ancient performance forms, and is Hennessy’s return home to collaborate with an emerging community of Bay Area circus and music artists: Amanda Starr, Benn Mendoza, Susan Voyticky, Tyler Downing, Jade-blue Eclipse, Gabriel Todd, Loren Olds, Neal Stewart, and Elaine Buckholtz. The work is intended to be both intimate and spectacular. Performance elements integrate traditional circus arts (aerial fabric, cloud swing, acrobatics, contortion, aerial hoop, juggling) and contemporary performance within a musical landscape of American roots/folk songs supported by contemporary rhythms (hip hop, breakbeat, downtempo). The goal is to reflect and honor the global with the local.

Circo Zero is funded by the SF Arts Commission and Zellerbach Family Fund and is presented by counterPULSE, ODC Theater Offsite, and the National Queer Arts Festival.



a solo performance by Keith Hennessy
a circus experiment by CIRCO ZERO

Thursday – Sunday, June 10-13 & 17-20, 2004
Dance Mission
3316 – 24th St. @ Mission
San Francisco
Buses 14, 49, 48
24th St. BART

Thursdays: Pay-What-You-Want
Friday-Sunday: $10 Minimum


For more info:

Photo: Lissa Ivy

CIRCO ZERO in association with The Dance Brigade and NQAF present two experiments in performance and circus: Chosen, a solo performance by Keith Hennessy, and Pretty (Ugly), a chamber circus by CIRCO ZERO. Queer fantasia, radical politics, and extreme physicality plus a little punk rock and a lotta soul.

Chosen spirals around the questions of fate, of manifest destiny, of land and identity. Text, body, lasers, boxing, underwear, aerial dance, and history combine in outrageous performance ritual. Chosen features an electronic score by Marc Kate and contributions from designers Seth Eisen, Jack Davis, and Elaine Buckholtz. “Keith Hennessy’s stage presence burns; he ignites any subject he tackles. Sacred, violent, and compassionate impulses shape our everyday lives; it is through a genius like Hennessy, though, that we can confront the state of the human contradiction.” SF Weekly

A chamber circus co-created by acrobat/contortionist Jade-blue Eclipse, aerialist/vocalist Susan Voyticky, shamanic fool Seth Eisen aka Butterskotch, electronic composer Marc Kate, director Keith Hennessy, plus 2 more circus artists TBA.

Keith Hennessy Bio

Keith Hennessy is a Canadian-born performer, director and organizer living in community in San Francisco since 1982. Creating performances for theaters and streets, Hennessy_s work is marked by queerly evocative images, untamed physicality, and sharp political texts. He directs CIRCO ZERO, a diverse crew of circus and music artists working the fusion of spectacle, ritual, and action. In 2003 Hennessy produced a musical CD of American folk/roots/electronica, Circle – The Songs of CIRCO ZERO. Keith has won numerous awards and commissions for his collaborative work as a choreographer, performer and organizer. Hennessy’s solo work has been produced throughout the US, in Canada, New Zealand, and Australia, including several Gay and Lesbian Performance Festivals. From 98-2002 he performed with CAHIN-CAHA, cirque bâtard, a French/American, mongrel circus based in France. Hennessy was a member of the extreme performance collective CORE and was a founding member of CONTRABAND, an award winning, internationally acclaimed performance company directed by Sara Shelton Mann. From 1991-2003 Keith co-directed 848 Community Space, a thriving urban performance gallery. He teaches in USF’s Performing Arts and Social Justice and was on faculty in Goddard College’s Interdisciplinary MFA (01-03), and New College’s Arts & Social Change (90-96). Keith teaches Contact Improvisation and improvised performance both locally and internationally. Hennessy is a member of Alternate ROOTS, a visionary service organization for community-based artists, and serves radical cultural agendas as a consultant, director, teacher, curator, and agitator. In 2003 Keith was intentionally arrested twice as part of the largest global mobilization for peace in world history.

“Keith Hennessy’s stage presence burns; he ignites any subject he tackles. Sacred, violent, and compassionate impulses shape our everyday lives; it is through a genius like Hennessy, though, that we can confront the state of the human contradiction.” –SF Weekly

“Hennessy is an excellent performer who moves and speaks with energy and sometimes beauty, and he has a considerable mastery of staging and space.” –San Diego Gay & Lesbian Times

“Brutally honest and yet tender and idealistic in his aspirations, he at times strikes me as similar to those shaman/priests who insist on telling people what they don’t want to hear. Wearing his white male skin like an itching coat that needs to be turned inside out, he skirts the edge between
discipline and license as he keeps examining the body – his own and
society’s.” –SF Bay Guardian

“Their individual performances become not “acts”, but metaphorical reenactments of their spiritual conditions, and this is where the show’s integrity and Hennessy_s inventiveness shine through. It’s the relentless tension between this solemnity and the irrepressible joy of the circus itself that make Circo Zero such a stunning paradox: a spectacle with soul.” –SF Examiner

“This is modern circus, all right, but with a message, a queer sensibility and a haunting beauty.” –SF Gate